Prairie Plants Close-Up: The Hidden World of Flowers and Fruit

Date: Tuesday, April 11th, 2017 Time: 1:00 am - 2:30 am

Everyone has many associations with a flower, the idea of flowers.  You put out your hand to touch the flower, lean forward to smell it?..or give it to someone to please them? ? Georgia O?Keeffe, 1939.  Flowers are indeed special to humans, yet why do plants make flowers in the first place?  Basically to reproduce.  Flowers are pollinated and become fruits.  Inside the fruits are seeds, which insure future generations.  Much of the diversity of flowers and fruits is the result of adaptations to attract some kind of animals to either visit the flowers to carry out pollination or to carry away seeds.  This presentation will use close-up photographs of a variety of flowers and fruits of prairie plants to show their innate beauty and structure and then explain how they are pollinated and dispersed.  This basic knowledge helps prairie enthusiasts understand some of the complexities of prairie ecosystems and how to select species for use in prairie plantings.

Presenter Bio:

Ken Robertson is a retire botanist at the Illinois Natural History Survey, a unit of the University of Illionois, where he co-taught the plant systematics course for over 20 years.  He has spent many years conducting field research in the natural areas of Illinois, especially prairies, and gives frequent presentations on the state?s native plants.  The author of many scientific publications, he has also co-authored a book entitled ?Illinois Wilds? and has developed and extensive website featuring plants of Illinois prairies and other wild areas.  Dr. Robertson received M.A. and M.S. degrees from the University of Kansas and a Ph.D. from Washington University and the Missouri Botanical Garden in St. Louis, then spent six years at the Arnold Arboretum of Harvard University.  In his spare time he bicycles 3,000-5,000 miles a year.

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